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Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Dejocko, Nov 26, 2020.
I don't know anything about your bike or your riding ability. I have ridden Smokey Mountain road a few times on a KLR and a KTM 690. There is nothing really technical like ledges. But there can be sand and there will be lots of small to medium rocks in places.
Going from south to north there is a long somewhat steep hill climb.
I haven't done Cottonwood. Smokey Mountain is just too much fun. I get the impression that Smokey Mountain is harder than Cottonwood.
If you decide to do Smokey Mountain be sure and NOT take the Smokey Hollow cutoff. It sounds attractive, but it many miles of tough sand. This cutoff runs west of the main road near the south end.
There is another road called Hole In the Rock heading south out of Escalante. I believe it is much easier and generally sedan-suitable.
But all of the roads in the area are subject to severe damage from bad storms. So try to check with the Grand Staircase people for road conditions before riding.
Cottonwood rd is a dirt county road. If its been raining it will be slick due to clay content in the road. Otherwise its the tamer of the 2
There are a lot of variables to consider, so the answer 'depends'.
Utah does a pretty good job of keeping many of the 'key' dirt byways in good shape. Rain and mud will trump everything. The mud in that part of Utah is diabolical. Don't even think about heading out onto dirt with street tires if it has been raining recently. Rain typically comes in the monsoon season which is August (in general). This year was very dry which led to other issues... lot's more sand, dust, washboard and even the occasional patch of fesh-fesh.
Burr Trail is a great road that will take you to a lot of cool places and is usually in really good shape. Just a hard packed gravel road. There can be some mud or ruts from past mud if it's rained recently.
Cottonwood is similar. Not quite as polished as Burr, but usually good. Cottonwood gets pretty bad in muddy conditions.
Smokey Mountain is a long and very remote road. There are some ups and downs. I don't think I would do it on road tires. If conditions are good, I'm sure it can be done, but it would take a long time and might get dicey in a few spots.
Glendale Bench Road - Easy, generally well maintained.
Skutumpah - 95% easy and well maintained... but that 5%! at the North end has a few steeps with sand pits. (fesh-fesh this year)
Kolob Plateau is another great road. Very easy and well maintained.
Hole-in-the-Rock Road - One way, out and back. Accesses some cool spots. This road is usually like a dirt highway, well maintained... BUT, the further South you go the worse it gets. Pretty easy to get down to Devil's Graden, Spooky and Pic-a-boo Slot canyons, etc. After that, it get progressively worse.
I'm not much of a street rider, but I would feel way better on the Anakee Adventures. That'll give you at least a minor margin for error if you encounter something iffy out there.
OP, here is a link to the road conditions in the area. Cottonwood Canyon can have onr section of sand but nothing to worry about.
Also, Utah is part of "The Rockies" sub-forum.